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On Wednesday, May 19, guests from Chester Zoo, Sean Bailey Wellness, and Habiba’s School of Spice will share how their organisations adapted quickly during this time of unexpected change and reflect on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted upon their business, employees and partners.

In 2020, professional coach Sean Bailey, who has been supported by the  Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme since 2019, was looking to work in-person with corporate organisations to support their employees’ health and wellbeing. Over the initial lockdown period, Sean had to pivot his idea quite dramatically. He now delivers ‘Wellbeing Awareness for Remote Working’ workshops online and, when permitted, runs local outdoor fitness and wellbeing training courses. He’ll be sharing his thoughts and ideas on employee wellbeing during this session.

After moving to Cheshire from London, Habiba Chowdhury founded My Curry Club and travelled throughout the county, sharing her considerable knowledge of spices and how to cook with them alongside people in their own homes. In 2019 she opened My Curry Club Cookery School welcoming those keen to learn to her Cheshire premises. Although the limitations and restrictions of COVID-19 prevented her from delivering physical cookery sessions, her school and its reputation grew online and earlier this year in 2021, Habiba rebranded to become Habiba’s School of Spice. The award-winning businesswoman will share her business growth journey over the course of the pandemic during this event.

Chester Zoo’s Director of Operations, Dominic Strange will discuss the commercial recovery of this world-famous visitor attraction. He said: “The pandemic has created a whole host of challenges for our charity zoo. Several months of closure meant we were only able to welcome around half the number of visitors in 2020 that we’d usually expect to see, while we weren’t able to welcome any in the first quarter of 2021 – a huge blow to our finances given that visitors contribute 97% of our income. However, conservation cannot wait. The planet is losing species faster than ever before and that’s why it’s really important that we recover as quickly as possible and generate vital funds to support our mission to prevent extinction.”

The event will also include a talk with the University’s Awards and Ceremonies Co-ordinator, Debbie Newns. Prior to the pandemic, Debbie was a crucial member of the team responsible for organising the University’s twice-yearly graduation celebrations at Chester Cathedral, amongst several other ceremonial University events. Since the start of 2021, Debbie’s exceptional organisational skills have been deployed in the co-ordination of COVID-19 lateral flow testing at the University’s Chester and Warrington campuses. During this event, Debbie will relay how her role changed from organising a town and gown event to playing a key role in the fight against COVID-19.

The University of Chester’s Business Growth Club provides businesses and entrepreneurs with an opportunity to network, hear updates from the business community and find out about the business support available from the University and other local organisations.

To book a spot for the Business Growth Club: Recovery – Adaptation and Wellbeing session, which runs from 10am until 12-noon on May 19th, register at

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